To live out of a backpack…

I would like to think I’m a minimalist, that I don’t really need much. People who know how I pack probably laugh at that thought.

As I was laying out my gear this morning, to be stuffed into one 110-liter trekking bag and small day/camera pack, I took this picture. Then I decided to label it all, so show just how much stuff I’m going to be carrying.

Note: this includes almost zero clothes and toiletries.

Not quite all of my stuff

Not quite all of my stuff

  1. Books. Travel guides to India, Kenya, Madagascar, Thailand, plus some entertainment reading and my Hindi textbooks.
  2. One pair of pants. I’m trying to limit myself to one pair of brown chinos and several pairs of shorts.
  3. Hand sanitizer.
  4. REI shell jacket. Water/wind proof, good for 40 degrees up to 85.
  5. Schlafly beer beanie. Soft material for packing fragile goods; nice for cold nights in highlands.
  6. REI Bug Hut Pro. Minimalist bug shelter.
  7. Reporter’s notebooks.
  8. REI mini multitool.

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Come visit. Seriously.

I’ve had many questions about visiting me while I’m out and about. My answer: Absolutely.

In no particular order, I’m calling out people who ought to make an appearance during my time abroad (some of you have at least expressed the interest): MattLord, Ariane, Joel/Kate, Solana, Supriya/Dan, Meghan/Emily, Colleen, Mel/Dale, Kate (the Hammer), Bethany, Blythe.

And you!

(If my mother, sister and brother-in-law can do it with the one-year-old Ravi in tow, surely you can.)

But seriously, if you’re interested, e-mail me. Also keep these considerations in mind:

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Weird beagle

She's kinda dumb. Cute, but dumb.

She's kinda dumb. Cute, but dumb.

Joel’s dog Blue is a regular source of entertainment.

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Itinerary for the next year or so

My itinerary is still a bit up in the air. I’m trying to be flexible on purpose, but here’s the basic rundown, if the dates as a little (or a lot) squishy.

  • September 3. Fly Chicago to New York to Dubai to Nairobi. I’ll have a couple weeks in and around the Kenyan capital playing with Shannon, adjusting and touring/chatting/shooting in the slums of Kibera.
  • Approximately September 20. Fly/overland to Dar es Salaam. I’ll be checking out on a number of conservation projects that will take me across the border into Tanzania and eventually the coastal city.
  • Approximately October 1. Fly to Antananarivo. Madagascar sits at the top of my Places to Visit list (after I knocked off Cuba this spring) and I plan visits to plant science and conservation efforts as well as fun-time with lemurs, butterflies and maybe a titanium mine.
  • Approximately October 11. Head back to Nairobi. Finish up leftovers; possibly head east to Mombasa for a few days or west to Kisumu. Also contemplating a trip up north near the border with Somalia.
  • October 21. Fly to Bombay. Begin visits related to U.S. companies there; planning efforts re: Monsanto, Anheuser-Busch and others. Also planning an early trip to Delhi.
  • November 27. Train to Palolem, a tiny beach village in India. R&R.
  • December 5. Back to Pune for a family visit. Mom, Anna, Riley and Ravi are planning a stop.
  • Approximately December 14. Begin winding trip to Port Blair in the Andamans for five year anniversary of crushing tsunami. Hoping for an ocean voyage and crazy good beach and journalism scenes.
  • Approximately January 10. Return to Pune area to pick up on previous visits with U.S. companies.
  • April 1. Fly to Bangkok to eat food. Possibly take a few days down to Phuket.
  • April 9. Return to Bombay. Begin trek up to Sikkim.
  • April 14. Volunteer teaching at small elementary school in Sikkim, a northern part of India sandwiched between Nepal and Bhutan.
  • June 14. Head back south for monsoons in central India. Evaluate bank account and goals.

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New phone number 623…

…no, I didn’t move to Arizona, which is the 623 area code.

I’m the proud owner of a Google Voice account. It organizes all my phones present and future with one number and allows remote access — even by Internet — to voicemail and text. I’ve actually had it for several weeks, but am only now publicizing the number:

623-AJA-DHAV

This will be my permanent phone number for as long as Google exists. Arizona was the only place I could get my AJADHAV handle.

Right now that number will ring my old cell phone, which will die when I leave the country. Once I’m overseas, calls to the 623 number will go directly voice, and I’ll be able to check the messages online wherever I am. Text messages will automatically go to my e-mail.

I won’t necessarily call back right away, but it’s the handiest way to leave a quick message or send a text.

And e-mails, of course, will continue to work at ajadhav@gmail.com.

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Video: St. Louis homeless soccer team

One of the last stories I wrote for the Post-Dispatch featured a homeless soccer team based in St. Louis. The team played in the Street Soccer USA Cup in Washington, D.C. last weekend.

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Hey mosquito, leave me alone

There are plenty of disease vectors that are serious enemies of the international traveler. Serious enemies. Nemesis level. Damn.

I’ve been vaccinated (or protected) against a lot: Yellow Fever, Polio, Typhoid, Hep A and B. And the standard U.S. MMR, tetanus, diphtheria, etc.

And I’m more than familiar with basic food and water precautions to fend off cholera, giardiasis and the like.

But mosquitoes still are a royal pain. I’ll be on Lariam (for malaria) as long as I can when I’m overseas, but the little bastard insects carry other diseases, including the infamous Dengue Fever, which is known as Break Bone Fever, due to unfortunate symptoms and pain.

Mom called today and asked about it. I told her not to worry too much.

But it’s a nasty threat. Hence why I picked up this fun little bit of protection at REI today.

Meet the Bug Hut Pro 1.

Bug Hut Pro 1

Eat it, bugs

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Eating a peach

Went yesterday to Braeutigam Orchards on the eastern edge of Belleville with Meghan and Emily. I took pictures today of my morning peach. This is a continued test of the Panasonic GH1 as well as the WordPress NextGen Gallery plugin.

The camera got a little sticky.

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One month to go

I have one month left in the United States. I officially moved out of the apartment and into Joel’s house (temporarily) Friday. The weekend was filled with fishing and peaches and relaxing.

Now, it’s back to work. My to do list for the remaining days (not including substantial play time and peach eating):

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